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Understanding and supporting sustained pathways out of extreme poverty and deprivation: Tanzania National Report

Research reports

Written by Andrew Shepherd

Hero image description: Fruit shop in Dar Es Salaam Image credit:Stefania Perna/ODI Image license:Creative Commons

Whilst moving the poor out of poverty is possible with well-designed policies and programming, increasing those who are able to sustain poverty escapes is much more challenging. This report examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it (a sustained poverty escape), while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again (a transitory poverty escape).

Transitory escapes and impoverishment are a problem in Tanzania despite a notable fall in poverty since 2000. The National Household Budget Survey (HBS), which is most widely used by policy-makers, records poverty incidence of 36% in 2000, 34% in 2007 and 28% in 2012 (based on a national basic needs poverty line). However, our analysis of poverty dynamics using the National Panel Survey (based on a lower national food poverty line) shows that over the same period, while 12% of households escaped sustainably, 2% of households experienced a transitory poverty escape, 5% churned around the poverty line and 3% became impoverished. Meanwhile 5% remained chronically poor, became impoverished or churned around the poverty line and a further 5% remained chronically poor. Thus, the proportion of households experiencing sustained escapes only just exceeds the proportion experiencing transitory escapes, churning around the poverty line or becoming impoverished over that period.

This report investigates the resources (land, livestock, and assets), attributes (household composition and education level) and activities (including jobs and engagement in non-farm activities) of households that enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood of returning to living in poverty again.

Note: this report is accompanied by the Sustaining poverty escapes in Tanzania policy brief, which presents policy implications for sustaining poverty escapes in Tanzania that emerge from the analysis presented in this study

Lucia da Corta, Flora Kessy, Remidius Ruhinduka, Andrew Shepherd and Lucy Scott